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By Melinda Sacks
Parents have to think about what the most worrisome scenario is, says psychologist Plante. "Is it the wild party with drinking and carousing, or is it picking on a younger sibling? An important question is, 'What is the worst thing that could happen and how do you problem-solve?'"
To deal with the dilemma of when to start letting your child stay alone or be left in charge of younger siblings and how to prepare, experts suggest taking some or all of the following steps:
Now that our son has become comfortable with being left alone for the evening, and has proven he's reliable, we are facing a new hurdle - what to do if we are going to be gone overnight. While many of our friends now leave their 16- and 17-year-old kids alone when they go out of town, our son doesn't want that much time home alone. But of course he also doesn't want a babysitter.
Our salvation has come in the form of responsible young adults, family friends in their 20s, who are delighted to escape roommates and a tiny apartment to sleep over at our house, make some money, and have a dinner out. Alex is happy with their company so far, and we don't spend our rare weekend away fretting about his well-being.
I have to admit, though, I am not looking forward to that first weekend when he is master of the house. We will be taking more small steps and undoubtedly making lots of cell phone calls.
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